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Tips For How To Balance The Demands of Teaching and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant, you might be nervous about how you will manage your teaching and your pregnancy at the same time. Veteran teacher and mom, Heather, shares her tips and suggestions to make teaching while pregnant less stressful.

Updated: September 12, 2019

Tips For Teaching While Pregnant

In a perfect world, when pregnant, you would be able to stay home with your feet propped up and would experience indulgent naps, massages, and you’d have a team around you to clean your house, run your errands, and cook your meals. Then, your 5 a.m. alarm buzzes and you’re snapped back into reality pretty quickly. How can we balance our need for rest and self-care during pregnancy with our teaching demands? 

"You’re pregnant, and you’re teaching. While you’re developing your own baby, you’re still responsible for caring for other people’s babies. How can you find the balance between taking it easy and being an effective teacher?"

Schedule Dr. Appointments Before or After Work

Most teachers need to take quite a bit of time off of work when they are pregnant. There are just so many prenatal appointments. Whether taking the whole day or half days, students can get really off of their routine when subs are constantly stepping into the classroom. Prepare substitute plans and resources in advance so they are readily available. 

"Once you find out you’re pregnant, make it a point to set up your monthly appointments all at once, requesting the first or last appointment of the day."

This way, you can not only make sure you get the appointment you want, but you can cut down on substitutes in order to maintain order in your classroom, but also save up sick time.
 

Take a Back Seat

As teachers, it can be tough to take a backseat at times, and let the students get in the driver’s seat. However, implementing the constructivist approach to teaching is a smart strategy if you’re expecting (and experiencing morning sickness). Constructivism is based on the belief that learning occurs as students are actively involved in learning, rather than passively receiving information. This is how they make meaning of knowledge. Not only does this give your mind and body a bit of a break, but it actually is proven to benefit students. Some ideas for how to put students into the driver’s seat include station rotations, buddy reading, and choice boards.

Keep Hydrated

One of the best ways to feel great and have plenty of energy to teach is to ensure that you’re hydrated. Stock up on cases of water, peppermint tea bags (to relieve nausea symptoms), and ginger ale for your classroom. Just be sure to have a friend nearby to allow you plenty of bathroom breaks.

 

Step into Sneakers

While heels and wedge sandals look super chic when teaching, you’re going to want to step into sneakers, especially toward the end of your pregnancy. Not only are your limbs looser, but your coordination and balance may waiver. Don’t take any chances. Support your ankles and feet, no thanks to your growing bump, with supportive sneakers. Choose something that is not only cut high, but is breathable and light so you don’t feel bogged down.

Have Group Work Ready to Go

Sometimes when you’re pregnant, you feel great in the morning, and then the afternoon sets in and it’s all over (or vice versa). It’s smart to have a big binder, ready to go full of group work (already copied) that can be assigned. The standards-based work should be engaging, easy for students to complete as a team, and is able to be turned in for a grade if needed. Literature circles are wonderful activities to set up, as students can not only read from the same chapter book, but be assigned a variety of jobs to ensure equitable participation across the group. Everyone is kept busy; everyone is kept engaged while you fight off nausea or other aches and pains of pregnancy.

Encourage Parent Volunteers

Many parents are jumping at the chance to get into your classroom and help out. This is a great time to collaborate with parents. After getting permission from the office and ensuring parents have proper clearances to step into the classroom, set up stuff for them to do. Whether they cut laminated items, run copies, read stories, run a small group, or are there to provide enrichment to early finishers, parents can be your best friend when pregnant.

Dress in Layers

When you’re pregnant, one minute you’re hot, one minute you’re freezing. While dressing comfortably is your top priority, dressing to accommodate your fluctuating hormones is a necessity.

Stay Home When You Need To

It’s important to remember that you’re a teacher and not a superhero. If you literally cannot get out of bed, don’t force yourself to. Not only is it dangerous to your physical and mental health, but it won’t be conducive to student learning when you can’t function in class. Self-care is important, especially when you are pregnant. 

"Always have your sub tub stocked with copies of review worksheets, leave out Bingo games, and always have a generic sub plan ready to go."

This way, you won’t worry or feel guilty about calling out last minute, and you can ensure your students are going to have a productive day.

Pregnancy is quite a journey. While each woman has a different experience, there are times when things get tough-especially before maternity leave kicks in. By considering some of the tips and tricks above, you can ensure that you’re still doing your job (and doing it well), but also taking care of yourself and your own needs.

What are your tips for balancing teaching and pregnancy? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Heather Aulisio is a third grade teacher in Pennsylvania. She has been a teacher for nearly 15 years and holds multiple degrees and certifications. A freelancer for The Mailbox and other education-related clients and publications, she enjoys writing in order to help and entertain fellow teachers. She currently resides with her husband, Bryan; son, Matthew; and two pugs, Lily and Leo.

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